Not Your Usual Whip’s Use
The web’s dictionary definition of a whip is a strip of leather or length of cord fastened to a handle, used for flogging or beating a person or for urging on an animal.
For those living on the Truckee River though, lashing their whip against the bike trail has a whole range of different meanings.
Paul Espinoza, who is in his 40s and a veteran of Reno’s streets for over 10 years, says the whips are a form of community signaling, warning others of possible dangers. This includes visits from police or of suspicious people.
Thankful for His Friends On the Streets
Espinoza says he makes whips for others and uses the end of baseball bats to get the most force and loudest sounds. He says there is nothing illegal about cracking a whip to communicate with others. He says it’s also something to make as a gift, and to use as an art form, or to pass time.
He says even though he has health issues and can’t afford rent, he’s thankful for all his homeless friends he looks out for.